Everything Changes

Change Ahead

We are going through a tough patch at the university where I teach. We have a new president, and he has instituted some changes for the purpose of saving the place financially. When changes involve money, especially when they involve sacred cows like retirement benefits, emotions take over.

I can’t go into the details here, but several very beloved and vocal retired folks are very hurt, and it’s stirring up some dark comments on social media. Everyone’s shadows are up and growling.


I’ve lived through some other drastic changes and have seen some of this dynamic at work in other areas.

I can’t say I am above it all, either. When it’s MY sacred cow, it’s another story.

When my college closed, for example – forty years ago, but it still hurts.

When the high school where I taught didn’t exactly close, but moved and merged with another school, I knew the need for it, and because it wasn’t MY school, I wasn’t as upset as my students and former students. That was 25 years ago.



In my religious community, things have always been in flux, at least in the 35 plus years I’ve been a member. Places, clothing, ways of praying or not praying together, how much the community was open to having “externs” ( the old fashioned word) no longer be treated as outsiders but welcomed in to our living spaces….   I have welcomed all these changes, but I have lived with sisters who hated the changes. In their first fifty years in the community, nothing changed, so after Vatican II when the changes began, they never got used to it.

Then, there are the physical changes, the big ones. Cancer changed my life.

And that song: Love changes everything. That is true, too, in both good and not so good ways.


Everyone experiences change, welcome or not. How flexible am I?


I’ve always loved the song “Changes” by Phil Ochs. Here are the lyrics:


Changes by Phil Ochs

Sit by my side, come as close as the air And share in a memory of gray And wander in my words Dream about the pictures that I play of changes

Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall To brown and to yellow, they fade And then they have to die Trapped within the circle time parade of changes

Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind Visions of shadows that shine ‘Til one day I returned and found they were The victims of the vines of changes

The world’s spinning madly, it drifts in the dark It Swings through a hollow of haze A race around the stars Journey through the universe ablaze with changes

Moments of magic will glow in the night All fears of the forest are gone But when the morning breaks They’re swept away by golden drops of dawn of changes

Passions will part to a strange melody As fires will sometimes burn cold Like petals in the wind We’re puppets to the silver strings of souls of changes

Your tears will be trembling, now we’re somewhere else One last cup of wine we will pour And I’ll kiss you one more time And leave you on the rolling river shore of changes

So sit by my side, come as close as the air And share in a memory of gray And wander in my words Dream about the pictures that I play of changes.

Phil Ochs, Berkeley, CAApril 1969  sheet 272 frame 11-12
Phil Ochs, Berkeley, CA April 1969 sheet 272 frame 11-12

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

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